Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Updated Impressions - Fighting the Tinkerer and Battling in Washington, D.C.

We take a look at two new levels and get a better taste for the head-bustin', power-slingin' cooperative superhero/supervillain action.

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In our previous look at Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, we got a taste of the fast-paced combat, powerful abilities, and spectacular fusions that combine different superpowers to make one massive attack. At Activision's booth this year, we took a look at two new, exciting sequences: one that took place in a familiar locale, and one that happened in an unexpected venue.

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What's New:

The first level picked up shortly after our earlier preview left off, with a strike team infiltrating Castle Doom. As our demo rep swapped in different playable characters, we saw Hulk, Wolverine, Venom, Human Torch, Thor, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Iron Man, and others bashing their way toward Doom's inner sanctum. Along the way, they were taunted by a large, green holographic face: The Tinkerer, who was watching them progress and sending his minions after them. Minions are no match for Marvel heroes, or villains for that matter, and the team handled wave after wave with punishing attacks and powerful fusions. These collaborative efforts combine the powers of two characters into one massive attack. One of the particularly impressive ones that we saw was Thor and Human Torch's massive fire tornado. Another fusion had Spider-Man snaring enemies and pulling them close together, then making a quick escape as Deadpool bombed the baddies to kingdom come.

The climactic encounter with the Tinkerer did not disappoint; the fiendish genius emerged in a massive, four-legged war machine to do battle. The team focused on dodging the many projectiles and lasers emanating from the machine as they tried to take out its legs to immobilize it. Sadly, the demo ended before we could see what other tricks the Tinkerer had up his sleeve.

What's Different:

Historically, many of the levels in Marvel Ultimate Alliance have taken place in dark fortresses, inclement weather, or under the cloak of night. The other new level that we saw took place during a sunny late afternoon in Washington, D.C. It was exciting and a bit surreal to watch such mutants as Juggernaut and Songbird (fusion: Juggernaut gets enclosed in a spiked, pink, sonic hamster wheel of death) battling it out in broad daylight on the steps of the Capitol. We could wax poetic about the exciting sequence that played out, but given that seeing is believing, you should just check out the video from our E3 stage demo.

What's the Same:

Throughout the frantic action, little glowing experience orbs would blossom out of downed enemies and rush to fill the characters' experience meters. Leveling up different powers is still a crucial mechanic in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. This was clearly demonstrated by our demo rep as we watched Human Torch summon a lone fire column to damage his enemies, and then summon four simultaneous columns using the same power after a judicious application of experience points. There's something really satisfying about playing as powerful superheroes and supervillains who get only more and more powerful as the game goes on.

What Kind of Impression Did It Make This Time:

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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is looking better than ever. With so many playable heroes and villains, hundreds of different superpowers, and more than 250 fusions, there's an incredible amount of exciting abilities to throw around. The game looked smooth, detailed, and electrifying in motion, and we can't wait to get our hands on it and play for ourselves.

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